Can Insurance Companies See If Your License Is Suspended?

There’s no hiding from your past. Car insurance companies can see if your license is suspended by running a background check on your driver’s license number.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
Since your driving record is attached to your driver’s license number, car insurance companies will be able to see if your license is suspended when you apply for a
car insurance quote
  • Insurance companies can see your driving record through your driver’s license number.
  • You may still need to maintain insurance through a license suspension to protect your car in storage, avoid a lapse in coverage, or drive on a restricted license.
  • Your car insurance rate can increase by 50% to 200% after a license suspension.

Can insurance companies see license suspensions?

Unfortunately, your driving record is directly linked to your driver’s license number. And guess what auto insurance companies ask for before giving your a free quote? Your driver’s license number.
So if your driver’s license is currently suspended, the insurance provider will know—there’s no hiding it from them. Previous license suspensions will also be visible on your driving record for a designated amount of years, depending on the severity of the suspendable offense and your state’s laws. Sometimes, you can attend a defensive driving course to help reduce points on your license or get a discount on your insurance policy—although your driving record will still typically show that you’ve had a suspension for a set amount of time.

Do you need auto insurance with a suspended driver’s license?

Even though you won’t be able to legally drive your car with a suspended driver’s license, there are still a couple of reasons you’ll want to maintain coverage:
  • Protect your car in storage:
    Liability insurance
    collision coverage
    are not necessary for a car in storage since it’s not exposed to the dangers of the road. However, some damages can happen to a vehicle that isn’t being driven, like vandalism, theft, natural disasters, falling objects, and more. Purchasing a policy with only
    comprehensive coverage
    will allow you to file a claim for these non-collision-related events.
  • Avoid a lapse in coverage: Unfortunately, letting your car insurance expire is considered a high-risk behavior. As a result, you may experience more expensive insurance premiums when you go to reactivate your policy. So, in the long run, it may be more cost-efficient to maintain minimum coverage throughout your driver’s license suspension.
That said, you’ll definitely need auto insurance if you plan to apply for a restricted license (sometimes called a hardship license) during your suspension. This license allows you to drive to and from work or school, but that’s generally it. You’ll want to confirm with your local DMV, but some states may require drivers with a restricted license to carry more coverage than the
minimum requirements
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How much does a license suspension increase insurance rates?

Providers use your driving record to determine the amount of risk they assume by offering you a car insurance policy. The more likely you are to file an insurance claim, the more expensive your car insurance rate will be. Unfortunately, a suspended license is a good indicator that you are a
high-risk driver
So to answer the question at hand, your auto insurance rate can increase anywhere from 50% to 200% after a license suspension. This wide variance concerns the severity of your suspendable offense, how long the suspension stays on your driving record, and how long you must maintain SR-22 insurance (more on this next).
MORE: How to get affordable car insurance with a bad driving record

How to get car insurance coverage with a suspended license

To regain your driving privileges after serving a license suspension, you’ll more than likely have to apply for non-standard car insurance by filling out an SR-22 form. It’s basically a document that will automatically communicate to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if you ever have any lapses in coverage.
Generally, you’ll be required to carry SR-22 insurance for three to five years after your suspension. This requirement ensures high-risk drivers have financial responsibility for any future mistakes on the road.
Companies like
State Farm
do offer policies to drivers with an SR-22, but you may get a better price from a company that specializes in non-standard car insurance, like
The General
or SafeAuto.
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Here are the most common reasons that your license could be suspended: unpaid traffic tickets, serious traffic violations (like DUI, DWI, reckless driving, hit-and-run, etc.),
excessive point violations
, outstanding child support payments, failure to appear in court, and failure to show
proof of insurance
It’s also important to note that each state will have different laws indicating whether or not a license suspension is on the table for your committed crime.
The exact terms of your license suspension will depend on your criminal conviction. But, even after you complete the punishment, your license will still be suspended until you fulfill all of your reinstatement obligations, which may include paying a fee, purchasing SR-22 insurance, and attending a driver’s safety course.
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